Chinese New Year is just around the corner and will soon be celebrated by those who follow calendars that are based around moon cycles.
Interchangeably known as the Lunar New Year (given that it is not exclusively observed in China), the event does not always occur on the exact same day. In fact, it can fall anywhere between January 21 and February 20, with the Year of the Ox most recently beginning on February 12.
In addition to refreshing the calendar, the event marks the end of Winter. For this reason, it also goes by a third name, with some electing to call it the “Spring Festival” instead.
When East Asian countries (including Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia) ring in the Lunar New Year, they will allocate it one of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs. For instance, 2019 was the Year of the Pig, 2020 was the Year of the Ratand 2021 was the Year of the Ox. The corresponding animal for when you were born is meant to have a bearing on your personality traits and characteristics.
According to the lunisolar calendar, 2022 will begin on February 1. This will be the Year of the Tiger.
How to Say “Happy New Year” in Mandarin and Cantonese
The different provinces of China do not uniformly speak the same language, with some (like Hong Kong and Macau) favoring Cantonese, while others predominantly use Mandarin. As such, there are a few different ways that you can say “Happy New Year” to somebody living in China.
If you are at relatively familiar terms with them, then you can say: “Xīn ián hǎo” in Mandarin. Phonetically pronounced “Shin-nyen haow” this literally means “New Year Goodness” and can be written in traditional Hànzì symbols as 新年好.
Alternatively, you can opt for the more formal “Xīnnián kuàilè” (phonetically pronounced Shin-nyen Kwai-le). This is quite similar to the previous greeting but means “New Year Happiness” instead. If you want to send this message over text, it can be written in Chinese characters as 新年快樂.
Meanwhile, if you are conversing with a Cantonese speaker, then you should say: “Sun Leen Fai Lok” which literally translates to “Happy New Year”. This is written as 新年快樂.
However, it is more common to say “Gong hei fat choy”, which broadly means “Wishing you prosperity and good health”. Phonetically, this greeting is pronounced “Gong hay fat choy” and is written as 恭喜發財.
14 Happy Chinese New Year Wishes and Greetings
While those are the most common Lunar New Year greetings, there are a few alternatives.
Newsweek has listed a few different ways of saying “Happy New Year” in both Mandarin and Cantonese below.
|Mandarin||Xīnnián kuàilè||New Year happiness||新年快樂|
|Mandarin||Xīnnián hǎo||New Year goodness||新年好|
|Cantonese||Sun Leen Fai Lok||Happy new year||新年快樂|
|Cantonese||Gong hei fat choy||Wishing you prosperity and health||恭喜發財|
|Cantonese||Sum Seung Si Sing||May all your wishes come true||心想事成|
|Cantonese||Sun Tai Geen Hong||Wishing you good health||身體健康|
|Cantonese||Lung Ma Jing Sung||Wishing you the energy of a dragon and horse||龍馬精神|
|Cantonese||Dai Gat Dai Lei||Wishing you good luck and fortune||大吉大利,|
|Mandarin||Chūnjié Kuàilè||Happy spring festival||春节快乐|
|Mandarin||Shēn TǐJián Kāng||Wishing you good health||健康|
|Mandarin||Niánnián YǒUyú||Wishing you a surplus of blessings||年年有余|
|Mandarin||Xīnchūn kuàilè||Happy new spring||新春快乐|
|Mandarin||Hé jiā xìngfú||Wishing you family happiness||阖家幸福|
|Mandarin||Suì Suì Píng ān||Wishing you safety||岁岁平安|